Buying Your First Rental Property

Buying Your First Rental Property

So: you’ve been living in (and possibly even renting in) the Tampa Bay area for a while now. And now you’re seriously considering putting down permanent roots. Like, the real estate kind-of-roots that generate residual income. In short, you’re ready to buy your first rental property. How do people even do that?

What Part of Tampa is Best to Invest In? 

The first step is to narrow your focus. Obviously, Tampa Bay has an abundance of beautiful, well-kept homes from Bayshore Blvd. to Brandon. The easiest way to find what you’re looking for is to choose where — before you start looking. Explore and identify areas around greater Tampa Bay that you love, or that you’d want to live in. Find out what and where works for you: proximity to work, to restaurants, to friends. Get familiar with different neighborhoods by researching different real estate websites, networking with other real estate investors or even just driving around looking for “sale” signs. Websites like Trulia give you the option to see homes for sale, not to mention it hosts properties that have already sold. It’s a great way to gain a general, big-picture view of where the market was, where it is currently, and potentially where it’s heading.

If you are a long-distance investor, schedule a time with our team and let us help you understand Tampa Bay’s rental market. With over 15 years of experience, we are able to determine what type of rental property and what location would maximize your return.

Financing your rental property

Before you leap into action, the next step should be some calculations. Figure out exactly how much you can afford to put into a down payment. Rental property purchases typically require a larger down payment to procure, but a mortgage lender or local bank would assist you by providing all of the financing options you qualify for. Knowing your budget ahead of time — and crucially, staying within it! — will further focus your search and bolster your chances of finding a match in a reasonable amount of time.

Rental properties for sale

Once you’ve locked in the location and have determined a comfortable budget for purchasing a rental property, the fun really begins: it’s time to go shopping! As a novice real estate investor, we know how overwhelming the process can be. Selecting a home can be fraught with unknowns, pitfalls, and traps. 

That’s why it makes sense to put a team of experts to work for you. Finding the perfect rental property is simply not a one-person  job. The team at Vintage Real Estate will set up an automatic email system that will notify you once properties that meet your criteria become available on the market. You can be sure the listings we uncover will meet the expectations you share with us. Your time is precious and the real estate market moves quickly. Our goal is not just to deliver results that our clients love, but to make the time between initial contact and closing on a purchase as short as possible. 

Is it worth buying property as an investment?

Before you put your signature on the final paperwork, it is important to determine the profitability of your rental property. You need to analyze every aspect of this home. What kind of expenses will you incur on a monthly basis? What renovations or updates need to be considered? Take a closer look at the bathrooms, the kitchen, the foundation. What sort of unforeseen expenses must you budget for? What’s happening to the ground beneath the home (because ‘sink hole’ isn’t just another name for a garbage disposal!)? 

If it sounds like a lot of work, congratulations: you’ve been paying attention! And while, yes, it may seem like a difficult task, it is considerably easier when you enlist the help of experts like us. We are uniquely qualified to advise on the purchase of rental properties as both a real estate firm and property management company. Otherwise, you may wind up slogging through years of public records on your own (and still run the risk of not finding the information you’re looking for!) 

There are other avenues open, too. The current property owner can shed light on many of the important questions you’re asking. One of the benefits of letting our management team assist your search is our ability to provide or determine these factors, too. We have many exclusive resources at our fingertips and access to information that will make this research/analysis stage a breeze.

How do you make an offer on an investment property?

We’re not quite there yet, but we’re close! Once our team has zeroed in on your perfect property, one that meets all your criteria, it’s time to start putting an offer together. We will walk you through the process from negotiations to contract closing. 

At this point, there are still a number of steps left. They include:

  • Scheduling an Inspection
  • Helping you get home insurance
  • Finding a title company or attorney to help with the closing
  • Finalizing personal finances and/or securing loan or other line of credit.
  • Verification of tenant income 
  • Cost calculation of immediate expenses
  • Cost calculation for updates/remodeling

In our opinion, no part of this process is “easy”— and making an offer is more complicated to do than say. We’ve found that purchasing rental properties, like most things worth having, is not an easy endeavor. It’s a labor of love to some degree, built with sweat equity by following a time-tested blueprint for financial stability.

Of course, there’s nothing to stop you from finding your own way through the quagmire of prospective rental properties. We know you’re a capable investor looking to expand or diversify your investment portfolio, or possibly looking to start one in real estate.  But if you’re going to take a serious look at the rental market with the intention of buying property and subsequently finding tenants, you should consider using a team of experts that will not only help you find and vet properties but will also find the perfect renters to treat that home the way you would. 

Simply put, you do not have to go it alone! Reach out to our experts at 813-797-5250 or go here to drop us a note. Someone will be in touch as soon as we can.


Dave Sigler, MPM RMPC

Owner/Broker Vintage Real Estate Services

David Sigler is a Florida native who grew up in Fort Lauderdale Florida. He attended the University of Central Florida where he received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. David has since become a licensed General Contractor & Real Estate Broker. He has been active in Florida real estate and construction for over 15 years. During the Great Recession he was forced to refocus his ambitions and landed on property management. Starting with a handful of homes that could not be sold, he grew his portfolio and eventually bought the brokerage. With his experience, knowledge, and resources, his company prides themselves on successful turn-key residential investment solutions. He now manages hundreds of homes covering 5 counties and his construction company provides maintenance services to his management company as well as other local managers. David is an active member of the National Association Residential Property Managers and has served on the Florida State Board for over 6 years in many different roles; most recently as the NARPM Florida Chapter President (2019). Active in the GTR community, he has served on the property management subcommittee for over 4 years and recently as chair of the group. He is also active in local and state legislation that affects the property management industry. His unique understanding and perspective of property management and its associated maintenance has provided him with numerous public speaking opportunities. Outside of work, not only is he an avid outdoors man and a board member for several local Non-Profit organizations, but first and foremost a Father and Husband.

Director of Property Management Committee for Greater Tampa Realtors Association
2019 NARPM State President